- Paintings made by the visitors of the Market of Cultures by Candlelight
A Nathalie Abbing project.
Every summer, for a few days, is the street where I live, a part of the Mercado des Culturas à Luz das Velas. Amazing! I had never before seen so many people passing my front door. People of all ages, locals and holidaymakers alike, from all over the world. All enjoying themselves; what an amazing vibe, what an amazing party. I feel privileged to live here, in the midst of this wonderful event in the old part of Lagoa.
Being an artist, I realized that this was a great opportunity to create something with these people. An experience of creating art together. Let’s make a painting, or paintings. I asked the neighbourhood children if they wanted to help. They loved the plan and could not wait to start painting. I drew the outline of shapes and forms like a jigsaw puzzle on a canvas. A guideline for the painters to follow or to ignore. I did not want to give them any rules or regulations in exploring their creativity.
Then I brought out some acrylic paint in the colours red, yellow, green, blue and pink and a big pot full of brushes the painting party could begin. The neighbourhood kids painted their hearts out and invited other children to join in. It didn’t take long before the parents could no longer resist the temptation of the paint and picked up a brush with their own favourite colour. And then everybody was painting, even the local teenagers lost their tough attitude when holding a brush of pink paint in their hands.
At first the painters were careful, even polite, trying not to disturb each other painting. That resulted in a few white spaces on the first canvas where it looks like someone started to paint and then suddenly stopped. Maybe it was done on purpose and the painter used the white of the canvas as an extra colour. Was it painted by a child or an adult, intentionally or intuitive? We can only guess.
Every day I prepared a new canvas with clean brushes and fresh paint. New painters kept coming and some painters returned for some more. Some just wanted to participate in the project and painted for a few minutes. Others could not let go of their brush and could only stop painting after firm threats from their family or friends to leave them behind after waiting for more than an hour. I know painting can be quite addictive.
The painters grew more and more confident when they inspired each other to experiment. Finally, on the last day, the painters all went wild on the 4th canvas; mixing colours, going over already painted patches, adding lines, dots and crosses. At the end of the night there was only one little space that was left untouched.
I finished the paintings by painting back the black lines and blackened the sides of the canvasses, then I gave the paintings a final layer of varnish to protect the art. The coloured shapes resemble all the people who contributed in creating these paintings. It shows their creativity, their individuality, their own extravagance or shyness, their courage, their doubt and their perseverance. Even though we all seem so different from each other, together we form one. Especially when we create something we love.
These paintings are a present to the community of Lagoa and are presented to the mayor of Lagoa.
Many thanks and gratitude to everyone who made this possible.